Merseyside Derby Classics Revisited And A Look Ahead To Number 215
Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Sharp, Ian Rush, Gary Lineker, Steve McMahon, Peter Reid, Alan Hansen, Kevin Ratcliffe, Steven Gerrard, Duncan Ferguson... Players who have all starred in unforgettable Merseyside Derbies.
This weekend's Everton v Liverpool match up holds special significance with it being Kenny Dalglish's first home game back in charge. No one needs reminding of Dalglish's last game in charge before quitting football and fittingly this match would probably be the best place to start, as we remember the classic Merseyside Derbies of years gone by.
Everton 4 Liverpool 4 (aet) FA Cup R5 (Replay), 20/2/1991
As strange as it may sound, this game was in fact the third game that Liverpool played against Everton within the space of 11 days. A league game had preceded the initial 0-0 draw at Anfield, which lead to this fateful game three days later. In a match where Liverpool took the lead FOUR times, (three times in normal time), Tony Cottee was to score both the last minute equaliser and the fourth Everton goal in extra time, having come on as an 85th minute substitute! As football matches go, this was as breathtaking and heart stopping as they come. Not only does it go down as arguably the most memorable Derby in history but also one of the greatest FA Cup ties ever played.
Everton 0 Liverpool 5, 6/11/1982
In Bob Paisley's final season before retiring, one where Liverpool were crowned champions, the Reds notched up their most emphatic victory over Everton in modern times with an awe inspiring performance, not least from Ian Rush who bagged 4 goals. Dalglish and Rush had a prolific partnership that season however did you know that the goal that Dalglish set up in this game was NOT scored by Rush. That goal was scored by Liverpool central defender Mark Lawrenson who for some strange reason was wearing the No. 10 shirt.
Liverpool 1 Everton 0, League Cup Final (Replay), 28/3/1984
Not so much a classic but deserves inclusion as the first ever Merseyside Cup Final (albeit the replay). With the first game at Wembley finishing 0-0, a tense and hard fought replay saw Liverpool prevail with a long distance effort from captain Graeme Souness. This victory was all the more sweet as it was Liverpool's 4th League Cup Final win in a row, a record that stands to this day.
Liverpool 3 Everton 1, FA Cup Final, 10/5/1986
The first ever Merseyside FA Cup Final will probably remain as the Derby that Kopites remember most fondly for several reasons. At a time when the FA Cup was still held in great esteem and hadn't been denigrated by teams opting not to take part, it was only the third time in the clubs history that the trophy made it's way to Anfield. It also topped off Kenny Dalglish's first season in charge (as player manager).
Having fallen behind to an early Gary Lineker opener, 3 second half strikes, from Ian Rush (2) and Craig Johnston, saw Liverpool lift the trophy to claim an historic League and Cup double, only the third team to do so, at the time, in the modern era. Ian Rush could have completed a hat trick in the closing minutes to become only the second player in history to achieve the feat in the FA Cup Final but decided to try an aesthetic "chip" over goalkeeper Bobby Mimms, rather than run on and place the ball, where he surely would have scored.
Everton 2 Liverpool 3, 16/4/2001
One of the last truly memorable Derby games. In a tempestuous affair that saw Robbie Fowler miss a penalty, David Unsworth score a penalty, Igor Biscan sent off and 12 bookings, it was a 94th minute, 45 yard Gary McCallister free kick that sealed all three points for the Reds in one of Liverpool's rare away wins that season.
Everton 2 Liverpool 3 (aet), FA Cup Final, 20/5/1989
The second Merseyside FA Cup Final and the most emotional in history. After the Hillsborough tragedy just five weeks earlier, a more fitting Cup Final there could not have been. Both sides wore black armbands in respect of the 96 and a minute's prefect silence was held in their memory. Gerry Marsden lead the 80,000 capacity crowd through a tearful yet resonant chorus of You'll Never Walk Alone... And the match was a classic in every sense of the word.
A very early opener from John Aldridge looked like it would be enough to seal the result as full time approached but substitute and Everton new boy Stuart McCall scored with a last-second equaliser to send the game into extra time and dozens of Everton supporters onto the hallowed turf. It was a sight to behold. Extra Time ensued with the Everton supporters watching the game from in front of the advertising boards. Enter Toffees nemesis, Ian Rush. Substitute Rush came on to put Liverpool back in front with an exquisite turn and half volley (see picture above). But it wasn't going to be enough. Stuart McCall trumped Rush's effort with a chested and volleyed shot from outside of the area. In the end, as he had done many times before, Ian Rush would have the final say and headed home the winner to send Liverpool fans everywhere into ecstatic delirium.
So there you have it. A quick "walk" through memory lane. Though the Derby hasn't produced a classic worthy of the name in recent seasons, Sunday's game is strangely poised to perhaps deliver the unexpected. Both top scorers in very recent Derby history will be absent, Steven Gerrard through suspension and Tim Cahill who is on International duty with Australia at the Asian Cup. Without researching the history books it would also be difficult to recall a Derby where both teams have been languishing dangerously above the relegation zone. A typically tense affair awaits us.
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